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NAB Touts Content and Commerce

The NAB is aiming to widen the appeal of its big show through a name change and more emphasis on content.

“We called it NAB Show versus NAB2008, and added the ‘Where Content Comes to Life’ theme to broaden the definition of the event,” said Chris Brown, NAB executive vice president of conventions and business operations.

Brown believes that it’s important to differentiate between the scope of the television broadcasters association—namely, “the rights and interests of free, local radio and broadcasters,” according to the NAB Web site—and the broader mission of the show itself.

“[Traditional] broadcasters are among a set of content players—we’re talking about content across all platforms: cable, satellite, Internet, film,” said Brown. “The definition of broadcast has been changing for some time now and this new [show] theme recognizes that.”

Having conceded the membership reality of this new mega-industry and the unifying theme of content as its driving force, the NAB Show convention team proceeded to figure out how it could better communicate the show’s value to this broader audience. According to Brown, the team believes it is creating real added value for all participants by offering a different type of synergy among the different groups transacting business along the “content continuum” of creation, management, commerce, distribution and delivery, and consumption.

“[Participants] can talk to people about particular syndication opportunities or other content deal opportunities—or to companies who may partner with them on new mobile delivery applications,” said Brown to illustrate how the show will facilitate a special synergy among the diversely-oriented groups.


“There is opportunity for content players to actually discuss, showcase and look at buying and selling content,” said Brown. He is determined to further facilitate the process by constructing specific structures to accommodate these possibilities.

At press time, the convention team was in the process of building Content Theatre.

“We’re going to build a full-blown theatre on the exhibit floor [to] run a series of panels and screenings,” said Brown. There, presenters will use state-of-the-art display technology to optimize the viewing of content ranging from “Journey to the Center of the Earth” in 3D to IPTV and mobile fare, and discuss the processes used to create them. “We want those folks to be more active participants.”

Elsewhere, the show’s IPTV and Mobile Solutions pavilions will be primed to tie together new content with new delivery platforms.

The idea of a sponsored Content Lounge has also been discussed for upcoming shows.

(click thumbnail)“Right now it’s an incubator concept,” said Brown. “We’re going to try and gather feedback as to where the opportunities might be, how we can make sure that we bring the right people together in that type of forum.”

Apple and Avid, among the show’s largest exhibitors, have both decided not to exhibit at the NAB Show. “This kind of thing is never good news,” Brown said. But he insisted there was an upside, in that his show team was able to fill the vacancies and a number of Apple and Avid resellers had “taken some good-sized space.”

As for Apple and Avid themselves, he said, “They will in all likelihood have some level of involvement,” noting that Apple has meeting rooms at the show and the team was, at press time, working with Avid on some opportunities.

Off the floor, things have also changed, starting with the lineup of keynote speakers.

“We still have a lot of our key technology and broadcast players,” said Brown. “But we’ve added the Hollywood side of the equation.”


The show’s Spotlight Series will deliver “compelling perspectives from some of Hollywood’s leading content creators and industry visionaries who are transforming the entertainment business.” It features “CSI” executive producer and creator Anthony Zuiker; “The Bourne Identity” producer/director Doug Liman; “Lost” executive producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof; and film and TV legend Barry Sonnenfeld (“Men in Black,” “Pushing Daisies”). The Spotlight Series will also introduce Jason Kilar, CEO of Hulu, the just launched NBC/Fox joint venture online VOD service and Mark Shapiro, CEO of the Six Flags theme park enterprise.

Shapiro, a former ESPN executive, is expected to talk about his company’s newest media venture, Six Flags Media Networks, in his April 15 keynote address, “From Theme Park to Third Screen.”

According to the show hosts who expect this scenario, “The interactive media solution will allow advertisers to reach a captive audience by introducing new content, innovative technologies and experiential marketing opportunities that also serve to enhance the in-park experience for the guest.”

“In the past it would have been the broadcaster, the distribution piece of the equation, talking about those programs,” Brown said. “Now we’re trying to get the creative side—how they view the technology and what that means for developing [their] content.”